Only a few years ago there were no festivals which offered to take DCPs (Digital Cinema Packages) as a regular item, then the big ones made the effort by making the DCPs from digital masters. Two years ago it was confusing and still uncommon for a DCP to be accepted, but rules were being set out and tested. This year it would be uncommon for a festival not to have a procedure for accepting a DCP.
But it is still a complicated process, for a lot of obvious and a lot of obscure reasons. The first question always seems to be, “Can’t I just deliver a QuickTime file? DCPs are soooo expensive.” The answer is: Yes you can. You can deliver something on tape as well, or an 8 bit DVD or 10 bit Blu Ray. (Oops! There is no 10 bit Blu Ray!!! only 8 bit.) You can introduce yourself in a suit that has been in mothballs for 10 years as well and give away 5 day old pre-buttered popcorn with your festival submission. But you don’t want to. The difference in quality between those and a correctly made DCP will be too striking, doing an injustice to your great plot and characters.
This will be the first in a series of festival information articles, and we start with a good package of data from Cine Tech Geek in the form of YouTube videos.
One last note before CineTech Geek’s great videos: DCinemaTraining.com would like to accept any materials to make a Film Festival Course. If you have interest in contributing, please write the editor of dcinematraining
James at CineTech Geek has been working as an integrator for cinemas in Australia, and also as a manufacturer and software engineer. His various websites are:
Company Site: DigitAll: http://www.digitall.net.au
YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/cinetechgeek
Personal Tech Blog – http://www.crafted.com.au/blog/
The clips begin with an ad for the digitAll dcpPlayer Version 2. If you are interested in DCPs, you should be interested in spending a mere $250 for a program that will allow you to play several formats of dcp. Previewing your work is a topic that will be fleshed out in a future article. Using a tool like this isn’t the same as trying out the DCP on the exact models of server and projector that is used in the festival, but it is an advisable start. In one of the videos, James shows a high frame rate 3D DCP playing through a portable computer.
This digitAll software is a Windows application, so it plays natively on a Windows PC, or on a speedy Mac with a virtual partition. (Either the free Apple Bootcamp, or VirtualBox from Sun (now Oracle), or systems from VMWare or Parallels (each about $79.)
One thing that James doesn’t bring up is the interface between bluray (and other consumer format) audio, which is different than most cinema theater set-ups, in many ways. Consider buying or renting the Gefen Inc EXT AVCINEMAAD A/V Cinema Scaler. You may think, “I don’t need a scaler.” In reality, if you are screening many different types of inputs, you probably will need a scaler. But the audio transitions between different consumer and professional deliverables are the real difficulty in interfacing. (James points out that those cinemas with a Dolby 750 Audio Processor will have the required audio interchange capability already. It should also be pointed out that Christie’s new SKA-3D is the latest iteration of Gefen’s everything to everything box. But we digress.)
On with the show(s):
Film Festival Deliverables: Part 1 Media
Film Festival Deliverables: Part 2 – On the Cheap
Fim Festival Devliverables: Part 3 – Film Producer
Film Festival Deliverables: Part 4 – Festival Producer
The presentation can also be found in PDF format at: